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February 1, 2021

Budget 2021: No relief to income taxpayers; slabs remain unchanged

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, while presenting Budget 2021,  announced no relief for the salaried class.

Income tax experts had expected that the Budget will put more money in the hands of the average taxpayer. However, the income tax slabs remain unchanged.

Sitharaman, meanwhile, proposed to reduce the timeline for reopening of tax cases to 3 years from 6 years. She further said that no income tax filing will be required for seniors citizens above 75 years of age and who have income only from pension and interest income.

According to the current rules, a slab system functions across the country, where different tax rates have been prescribed for different slabs. There are three categories of individual taxpayers: Individuals (below the age of 60 years) which include residents as well as non-residents, resident senior citizens (60 years and above but below 80 years of age) and resident super senior citizens (above 80 years of age).

In the previous Budget, Sitharaman introduced a new tax structure, offering an individual the choice of paying tax under the new structure with lower rates but foregoing deductions or continue paying tax under the existing tax laws and claim the applicable exemptions.

Currently, 7 income slabs are available under the new tax regime. According to it, annual income up to Rs 2.5 lakh is exempt from tax. Those individuals earning between Rs 2.5 lakh and Rs 5 lakh have to pay 5 percent tax. Income between Rs 5 and 7.5 lakh is taxed at 10 percent, while those between Rs 7.5 and 10 lakh at 15 percent.

Those earning between Rs 10 and 12.5 lakh have to pay tax at the rate of 20 percent, while those between Rs 12.5 and Rs 15 lakh have to pay at the rate of 25 percent. Income above Rs 15 lakh is taxed at 30 percent.

This structure does not allow exemptions under Section 80C. Home loan exemption, insurance exemptions, standard deduction also do not qualify under the regime.

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